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besides their own) with impartiality. The justice of the pretensions of the MONTHLY REPOSITORY to singularity in this respect may be determined by an appeal to the volumes already published; in which will be found communications from respectable writers of different parties, and of opposite creeds, on several of the most important points of theology. This honourable peculiarity (says the prospectus) the MONTHLY REPOSITORY shall never forfeit; it is free to every writer of good sense and good temper, whatever be his faith, or his want of faith."
That the principles of those who conduct this publication are UNITARIAN is abundantly manifest; and with those principles, such a liberal plan is perfectly consistent.
The contents of the MONTHLY REPOSITORY are arranged under the following heads: I. History and Biography. II. Miscellaneous Communications. III. Biblical Criticism. IV. Review of Select Books. V. Original Poetry. VI. Obituary. VII. Literary and Religious Intelligence. VIII. A List of New Publications. Each number contains fifty-six octavo pages, neatly printed, and the whole forms, annually, one large handsome volume, to which is affixed a copious index.
The numbers of the MONTHLY REPOSITORY are published regularly on the first day of every month, price one shilling, by Longman & Co. Each volume twelve shillings and six pence in boards.
A Theological Conversation.
To the Editor of the Monthly Repository.
IT gives me great pleasure to hear of the increasing circulation of your very useful magazine, as it is a very excellent medium for the dif fusion of unitarian sentiments, and affords an opportunity to many of our persuasion, to inform our neighbours of the rising progress of that important truth, from which, unhappily, the great body of christians has so long run astray. No effort should, I think, be left untried to bring back our wandering brethren from the maze of error in which their teachers endeavour to keep them entangled; and if we can convince the teachers themselves, so much the better it is for the cause which must, whether the present generation chuses it or not, ultimately succeed.
A circumstance that occurred to me the other day, led me to apprehend that the difficulties are not so great as we are sometimes apt to imagine. I overtook, on the road, a person with a bible in his hand, taking his walk, in the morning, from a small country town. I supposed him to be a mechanic of the place; and, in passing him, congratulated his early application to study, and expressed my satisfaction that his time was so well employed. This led to a conversation, in which I learned that he was not a mechanic, but a man of
study, acquainted with the bible in its original languages, and minister of the methodist congregation in the town, in lady Huntingdon's connexion.
We chatted together on the importance of religious meditation, and the great duty imposed on every christian, to form a true conception of his relation to God through our Saviour; and I observed how much I was indebted to the study of my Hebrew bible, by which I was first led to understand clearly what God had chosen to reveal of himself, and how to worship the God of Jesus Christ, who in earlier times was known by the names of Jehovah and the God of Israel. You do not then, he said, worship the plurality? No, sir, I replied: God has said, "Thou shalt worship no other gods but me;" if he had said to me thou shalt worship the plurality, I should undoubtedly worship it; but I cannot admit of any term in religious matters which is unscriptural, and is the invention of human reason. He wished then to convince me that a term might be used which was not in the scripture; talked of essence and trinity; but I kept to the same point, that as they were the invention of men, a true christian could have nothing to do with them; he had a master, namely, Jesus the Christ; he was ordered by that master to have no other master; and all persons who set up for masters, and all persons who believe in these masters, were fallen from the truth as it is in Jesus.
After a little discussion on these points, he asked me whether I thought Jesus to be a man merely
like myself? I replied, yes, in every respect, except that he was more highly favoured by God, was the appointed saviour of mankind, and for his obedience was raised to be the head of all mankind. Upon this, my companion ran into the usual strain of gentlemen of this persuasion, assured me I could not be saved by this faith, and was necessarily doomed to perdition. To this I calmly replied, that such language was not very polite, and the mode of arguing was not good, for I might just as well say the same of himself; but I was taught not to judge any man; to his own Master I leave him, and I did not doubt that the Judge of all the earth would do right.
This language seemed to make some impression, and he undertook to convince me of my error, by running over a great quantity of texts of scripture, which I observed was a thing very ea sily done, and, however it might take with a congregation, could not weigh at all with real lovers of truth. We went then more deliberately to the work, taking one at a time, he beginning with the first, namely: There are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. You know, sir, he said, that these are the words of scripture. Indeed, sir, I do not. Not know it! you surprise me; it is a verse in St. John's first epistle. I know, I replied, that such a verse is said to be in John's first epistle, but I do not believe that John ever wrote it. Then, said he, you might as well say that John did not write the other verses, and
we shall, by going on in this way, have no scriptures at all. Not so, I replied: because you have a bad guinea it does not follow that there are no good guineas; but, if there are bad guineas abroad, you will take care to know the good from the bad. St. John, I repeat it, never wrote that verse. But how came it in the bible then? Many learned men believe John to have written that verse; and I never saw a Testament, whether Greek or English, without that verse in it. That may be, I replied; but I have seen many Testaments without it, and I have a Greek Testament myself in which it is not. In the British Museum is a famous manuscript without it; and, in fact, there is not one Greek manuscript which has it, unless the manuscript was written lately. Mr. Buchanan, a trinitarian clergyman, has lately visited the Hindoo christians on the coast of Malabar, who have manuscripts of the New Testament of a very old date, and in none of these manuscripts is this pretended verse to be found. My companion said he did not know how this might be, but he could not believe that the men who translated the bible into English would have suffered it to be in unless they were certain that it ought to be printed; for they were men of great learning, and we had no one of greater learning in these times. I did not assent to the latter proposition, and was asked, what man alive had so much learning? I replied, professor Porson, the Greek professor of Cambridge, has more learning than all the translators put together. He has investigated the autho